Leaders: Take off the mask


Who you are seeps out. It can’t be helped.

I tripped over this thought today: Leadership is less about what you do and more about who you are.

In the past few months I have been placing more attention on “the who” instead of “the what.” Think about it: The same leadership tactic used by two different leaders will garner two different results. Same exact tactic, same exact delivery, same recipient! How can that be? Because the recipients of our brilliant leadership always strain our messages through the “you” filter.

Who we are seeps out. Every eye roll, off comment, inaction, action, or intention. What we believe seeps out. It sends subtle messages to those around us. And after a few million years each of us have figured out how to read people instantly. We can just feel it.

I think we have reached an inflection point for BS tolerance. The manufactured environment of the office that allowed BS to mutate unchecked has given way to an era of required authenticity. BS is no match for Zoom. We’re permitting ourselves to see through it and to want more.

Do yourself and your team a solid. Take off the metaphorical mask (but do keep the real mask on). Tell them what you believe, show them who you are. The rewards go to those willing to put themselves on the line.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on July 30, 2020

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